Benedict Gives Final Blessing

Says God called him to a life of prayer

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 24, 2013 5:55 AM CST

(Newser) – Pope Benedict has given his final Sunday blessing as pontiff from his window on St. Peter's Square, telling thousands of cheering well-wishers that "in prayer, we will always be close," reports the BBC. The pope, who steps down on Thursday, said in his final Angelus address that he's "not abandoning the church," but rather will continue to serve it in a way "more suitable to my age and strength," adds the AP. "Thank you for your affection," he told the crowd. Benedict's final public appearance comes Wednesday with his weekly appearance

Nuns pray prior to Pope Benedict XVI's last Angelus noon prayer, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013. The last chance for a Sunday blessing from Benedict is drawing a crowd.
Nuns pray prior to Pope Benedict XVI's last Angelus noon prayer, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013. The last chance for a Sunday blessing from Benedict is drawing a crowd.   (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Nuns pray prior to Pope Benedict XVI's last Angelus noon prayer, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013. The last chance for a Sunday blessing from Benedict is drawing a crowd.
Nuns pray prior to Pope Benedict XVI's last Angelus noon prayer, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013. The last chance for a Sunday blessing from Benedict is drawing a crowd.   (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope Benedict XVI delivers his blessing during his last Angelus prayer, from his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013.
Pope Benedict XVI delivers his blessing during his last Angelus prayer, from his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013.   (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Benedict XVI delivers his blessing during his last Angelus noon prayer, from his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013.
Pope Benedict XVI delivers his blessing during his last Angelus noon prayer, from his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013.   (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
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